South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Departing board members leave some big shoes to fill

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

Serving on a board of education is a thankless job.

School board members can be the target of criticism from employees, parents, special-interest groups from outside the district and, of course, the media — just for volunteering their time to better their community.

As the adage goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

We’d like to pay tribute to the four members of the Lindbergh Board of Education who departed after the four board members who were elected April 4 — Cathy Carlock Lorenz, Matt Alonzo, Christy Watz and Mike Shamia — were seated at the April 11 meeting.

Leaving the school board were President Kathy Kienstra, Vice President Don Bee, Treasurer Vicki Lorenz Englund and board member Gary Ujka. Kienstra and Bee were the board’s two most veteran members, having served since 2008.

Kienstra was unsuccessful in her bid for a fourth three-year term, while Bee elected not to run.

Englund was seeking her third three-year term on the board, while Ujka decided not to run after being appointed to the board to fill a vacancy following his re-election defeat in April 2016.

Kienstra and Bee served on the board during one of the most difficult times in the district’s history, weathering through nearly $5 million in budget cuts after the bottom dropped out of the economy during the Great Recession. Those were some pretty dark days for the district, as the board eliminated 60 positions, including 45 teaching posts.

But Lindbergh Schools persevered, enjoying an unprecedented period of academic achievement — No. 1 in the state from 2009 through 2014.

And the district continues to remain one of the top districts in the state academically.

The contributions of Kienstra, Bee, Englund and Ujka have been invaluable, as their tireless work and the countless hours of their time have propelled Lindbergh to high levels of academic achievement and sound fiscal stewardship, while grappling with surging enrollment.

They will be sorely missed.

We wish their successors — Lorenz, Alonzo, Watz and Shamia — the best of luck, as they have some huge shoes to fill. We’re certain they will do their very best to uphold the Lindbergh traditions of high academic achievement and exceptional fiscal stewardship.

The eyes of the entire community will be upon them.

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